News Briefs

Employee at Topeka women’s prison dies from COVID-19

By: - July 28, 2020 5:12 pm
The Kansas Department of Corrections led by secretary Jeff Zmuda says a fifth inmate who contracted COVID-19 has died. (Submitted/Kansas Reflector)

The Kansas Department of Corrections led by secretary Jeff Zmuda says an 11th inmate who contracted COVID-19 has died. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

A facility maintenance supervisor for the state-run women’s prison in Topeka has died after being infected with COVID-19.

The Kansas Department of Corrections said Richard Rose, 74, died on Saturday. He was a 17-year employee at the agency.

Rose is the third staff member and the first at Topeka Correctional Facility to die after being infected by the coronavirus. The other two were at the Lansing Correctional Facility.

“We extend our deepest sympathy to Richard’s family and to those who served alongside him for so many years,” said corrections secretary Jeff Zmuda. “The KDOC family is a tight-knit group, and these deaths, and those of our residents, have been extremely difficult.”

Gov. Laura Kelly extended condolences to Rose’s family, friends and colleagues.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of too many hard-working Kansans,” Kelly said. “Richard was a dedicated public servant.”

KDOC has confirmed eight positive COVID-19 cases among staff members at the Topeka prison, and more than 100 staff members at other corrections facilities.

Three of the 948 inmates at the women’s prison have tested positive for the virus, as well as 850 inmates at the Lansing prison and 58 residents at the Wichita Work Release facility. Four inmates at Lansing have died from COVID-19.

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Sherman Smith
Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith is the 2021 and 2022 Kansas Press Association’s journalist of the year. He has written award-winning news stories about the instability of the Kansas foster care system, misconduct by government officials, sexual abuse, technology, education, and the Legislature. He previously spent 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal. He is a lifelong Kansan.